The Pigeon Forge Tigers took to the diamond on Wednesday, May 25, for the second round of the state tournament where they were matched up against Forrest High School.
The Tigers once again found themselves in a game that was too close for comfort, but Dylan Loy’s performance on the mound and at the plate helped keep them in the winners bracket and advance past Forrest 8-5.
“Dylan was electric. It’s pretty hard to beat that guy, Tigers Head Coach Mike Guinn said. “He’s a dog out there, and he shows it. He plays the game with a pure joy and he plays for his team, plays for the community. He’s a joy to coach; this team is a joy to coach,” Guinn said.
The Tigers did quite a bit of rotation with who took the mound as Loy and Trevan Myers would come in interchangeably. In his five innings on the mound, Loy would throw 10 strikeouts while only allowing one hit. From the plate, Loy would go 3-5 with 3 RBIs, but wouldn’t be the only Tiger with multiple hits as Riley Franklin and Bryce Effler would both go 2-4 with an RBI each.
The Tigers would jump out to an early lead as they loaded the bases in the top of the first after a single from Franklin, and Effler and Kevin Fernandez both being walked onto first. Michael McCarter would step up to the plate and drill one deep into left field to bring Franklin and Effler home, taking an early 2-0 lead.
The Tigers would build upon their lead in the second, starting with a single from Conner Catlett. Ben Archer would come in to run for Catlett, and the Tigers would put another runner on base as Tyson McFall was walked. This brought Loy to the plate, who would get on base with a double, bringing home Archer and McFall and extending the lead to 4-0.
Later in the inning, Franklin would be walked onto first and steal second. A shot to left field from Effler would bring in Franklin to move the lead to 5-0. Effler would advance to third after a double from Myers, and would sprint home after a wild pitch to put the Tigers ahead 6-0 after two innings.
The Tigers would give up runs in the bottom of the second and fifth inning, to take the game into the top of the sixth with their lead cut to 6-3. Loy would double to lead off the inning, and would be brought home by a shot to right field from Franklin to extend the Tigers lead to 7-3 going into the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Tigers’ defense would commit three errors in the inning resulting in two runs being brought in by Forrest to narrow their lead to 7-5. With runners on first and second, Loy would finish the inning out strong and preserve the Tigers’ lead, striking out two Forrest batters to retire the side.
Ben Archer would lead off in the top of the seventh and would fire up the Tigers’ dugout with a shot to center field for a double. Loy would bring Archer home with a single to extend the Tigers lead to 8-5, but Forrest would secure the remaining two outs needed to keep the score there going into the bottom of the inning.
With their backs against the wall, the Tigers’ defense would come up big when they needed it most, retiring the side in order and holding on to win this one 8-5.
The Tigers now sit at 38-3 on the season, and weather permitting will face the winner of White House Heritage and Forrest on Friday, May 27, and are in the driver’s seat as they would have to lose twice to be eliminated while one win places them into the title game.